Netflix has already burned weeks of our lives with its early ventures into original programming. You know what I’m talking about. Every episode of House of Cards or Orange is the New Black left you tearing out your hair screaming, “I NEED JUST ONE MORE, PLEEEASE!”
Now that the good people at Netflix have come to realize their power, they’re going to try to use it to show us something even more unnerving than murderous politicians: real life. As part of their new documentary push, they bought the rights to two films focused on the state, and fate of our planet — Mission Blue (watch the preview above) and Virunga.
From the makers of The Cove, Mission Blue follows oceanographer Sylvia Earle – the first female chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who has logged more than 7,000 hours underwater (you know, only one of the heroes of my adolescent self). In Mission Blue, Earle lays out the ways in which we’re screwing the oceans over – and puts forward her vision for a network of wilderness-like ocean preserves.
Virunga, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April, is about the Herculean toils involved in protecting a National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its endangered mountain gorillas. Poaching, skeevy oil companies, corruption, war … clearly part of Netflix’s plan is to make you feel so bad that you’ll need to pick yourself back up by browsing the site’s comedy section once its over.
Mission Blue will premier in New York, L.A., and on Netflix on Aug. 15. Stay tuned for my interview with Earle in Grist before then. Virunga will air on Netflix later this year.